Billed as a "tantalizing follow-up" to Aron's book on oddities and conundrums of American history, this more widely focused work weighs conflicting views on the issues involved in answering such chapter-entitling queries as "Who Was King Arthur?" or "Did Jesus Die on the Cross?" or "Was Gorbachev Part of the August Coup?" In most cases, the answer Aron arrives at is a suitable "nobody knows for sure," but the brief summaries of the issues and the brisk examinations of competing claims and theories about them afford readers more information and insight about some delicious historical riddles. In "Did Martin Guerre Return?" Aron reviews sixteenth-century records to assess a cornucopia of deception, adultery, and mistaken identity. In "Did Hitler Murder His Niece?" the oft-alluded-to kink in Hitler's libido is given a name, unidinism (it involves urine--enough said?). Wonderful for light, occasional reading, Aron's latest offering proves again that history can be fun and as strange, at least, as fiction. Mike TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Inside Flap
"Historians make great detectives," says Paul Aron, "and history makes for great detective stories." In Unsolved Mysteries of History, Arons second ingenious primer on the art of historical detection, he proves that history has all the twists and turns, intellectual challenges, and surprise revelations of a great mystery story. From the origins of mankindliterallyto the present, here are the twenty-five most intriguing mysteries of all time.
- Were the Neandertals our ancestors? Or did modern Homo sapiens wipe them out?
- Why did the pharaohs build the pyramids? And if they were, in fact, tombs, why is it that nobody found any bodies?
- If Gutenberg invented the printing press, why did Johannes Fust sue him . .. and win? And why was it Fusts name that appeared on the first printed books?
- Did Columbus discover America by accident? Or was he looking for a New World all along?
- How could Shakespeare, the uneducated son of a small-town glove-maker, have written with such familiarity about law, the classics, and court life? And if he didnt write the plays, who did?
- Could the Titanic have been saved? Why did the Californian, just miles from the sinking ocean liner, not go to its rescue?
- Did Hitler murder his niece? And was he her lover?
For each mystery, Aron re-creates the decisive events surrounding them and presents the latest discoveries and debates. Open Unsolved Mysteries of History and join the fray.